By lex, on November 5th, 2009
It’s impossible to know at this early juncture what snakes were writhing in the skull of Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychologist so clearly unhinged that he took the life of 12 of his fellow soldiers, while wounding 31 others. It’s tempting to believe that this has something to do with a faith that led him to believe that his own people were not those in digital cammies heading out in the name of liberty and freedom, but those who hew to a violent and suffocating version of received knowledge that is 1400 years old, unadaptive, unswerving.
It’s easy to wonder whether the major had felt himself pushed over the edge by the petty grudges and grievances he believed he had received by those who questioned his commitment to the oath he’d sworn to uphold. “So help me God.”
It’s easy to wonder whether he was simply a random nutter who lost his last, tenuous grip on sanity.
It is simple honesty to acknowledge that when we learned his identity, many – perhaps most of us – were unsurprised. What that says about us, and him, and them must be left to another time. Keeping in mind that none of us should be judged by the actions of others, or for things we ourselves have not, would not have done.
Because all of that is fruitless, at least for now. The time will come for judgments.
Having apparently survived the mayhem he wreaked, Major Hasan will live to tell his tale in the dock. From whence, his guilt being proven, one can hope he will swiftly be sped towards his eternal reward. Which, one furthermore hopes, will involve an eternity roasting on the coals reserved for murderers and traitors.
All we know now is that 12 young Americans who had taken on the responsibility of keeping the rest of us safe were brought cruelly down in a place that they had the right to expect was welcoming and protected. People willing to face danger abroad who thought that there were among friends at home. That thirty-one others lie in various stages of malicious wounding, not all of whom may survive. That hundreds of their family members who feared a distant dread will wake up to a present nightmare. That thousands more on a vast military base have been brutally terrorized. That millions of the rest of us now wonder who are our friends, and who our enemies. And how to tell the difference.
A bad day all the way around, for all of us.